IDOT and CDOT reach agreement to improve safety for Chicago’s road users
As part of the agreement, CDOT and IDOT will work together to make Chicago and Illinois’ roads more safe and accessible for the cities’ most vulnerable road users, such as people with disabilities and those walking and cycling.
The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) has announced that it has come to a new agreement with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) that will streamline and accelerate the process of delivering proven and scalable safety measures on local roads and state routes within the City of Chicago.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), signed by Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman and CDOT Commissioner Gia Biagi, establishes pre-approval of certain infrastructure designs related to Chicago’s urban street context to improve safety for people walking, biking and driving.
“Today’s (17 January 2023) MOU builds on our partnership with CDOT and outlines concrete steps that we are taking to address safety, while further enhancing our ongoing collaboration and joint commitment to making roads safer for all users,” said Omer Osman. “Together, we will continue to work towards our joint goal of zero fatalities and to make Chicago and Illinois roads as safe and accessible as possible.”
“As set out in the City of Chicago’s Strategic Plan for Transportation and funded through Mayor Lightfoot’s Chicago Works local capital bond, CDOT is leveraging all our projects to implement high-impact safety solutions,” said Gia Biagi. “This MOU is an important step forward in creating safer streets for our most vulnerable road users, such as children, people with disabilities, older adults and people walking, biking and rolling.”
The improved collaboration between CDOT and IDOT ultimately will help to streamline the approval and delivery process for implementing proven safety counter measures to help address the trend of rising traffic fatalities in Chicago, Illinois and across the country, particularly among bicyclists and pedestrians. The MOU will go into effect immediately and establishes:
- A standardised list of traffic safety infrastructure designs routinely submitted by CDOT that will not be subject to comprehensive IDOT review prior to installation. This will allow the city to design and self-certify kerb cuts and other pavement improvements to make streets more walkable and accommodating for non-vehicular traffic
- Clarified “Design Vehicle” standards to emphasise pedestrian safety at intersections. A design vehicle is the largest vehicle that is likely to use the facility with considerable frequency and its selection can significantly impact a road’s design and geometry. By
agreeing to a more appropriate design vehicle for urban streets, certain state routes will be able to add safety features, such as kerb extensions and bump-outs that shorten crossing distances for pedestrians
- An IDOT-CDOT working group to help formulate future agreements and enhance existing inter-agency collaboration.
The MOU applies to the approximately 400 miles of road that are under state jurisdiction in Chicago, excluding expressways. These include some of the most heavily travelled streets in the city.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, traffic fatalities have significantly increased nationwide and in Chicago, with a range of factors likely contributing to these trends, such as driver behaviour, increased speed and some legacy street designs. This agreement will help address and tackle these issues in order to improve road safety across the city.
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